2.04.2004

a buncha hamhanded bastich mofos...

As some of you may know already, I've had a few scattered incidents of manifesting manifestos, perhaps a few polemical moments, and maybe a couple of ranting bits that have slipped out when they could have stayed inside. But with the s1ngularity::criticism blog, I've tried to stay away from all that, tried to let things grow and develop on their own.

Some of you haven't allowed that to happen. Some of you have been judgmental, criticizing a lack of focus or direction, wanting us to turn the blog into what YOU want it to be. That really isn't very cool. Thought I'd tell you that.

But at the same time, I'm sensing some reader discomfort, and I don't want that either. I like my readers; my readers are my bestest friends in the whole wide URLverse.

So here's what I'm going to give you - a philosophical point behind starting the s1ngularity::criticism blog. From me to you, with all my blessings.


david g hartwell is a smart guy

In his seminal work on science fiction, Age of Wonders, David Hartwell made an offhand remark while discussing the rise of the fantasy readership over that of science fiction. He said:

"There is to my knowledge no center of critical theory or location (or publication) that represents a consensus on standards of what works and what doesn't, what's good and what's not."


Yeah. I'm down with that, Davey G. And I'll go you up one better. I'll say that there IS NO consensus on standards within genre fiction of any kind. That's what I've been saying; no one can define what's good, and no one can define what's bad.

That's partly why we're here.


laying a stable foundation is the best way to build a house

Another part of what we're doing here involves building the foundation for the future of speculative fiction. One piece of that involves discussing literary theory, and attempting to define our own theory of SFF. We're playing with concepts, and we're looking at what works and what doesn't. There's a reason we're doing it in public, too: user feedback is a necessity for success. Barking up the wrong tree? So tell us! That's the point.

I understand that not everyone is interested in lit theory, and I sure as hell don't expect you to read it if you aren't interested. But you wanna know something else? The fact that there are so few people that are able to distinguish with critical aplomb whether or not a work is successfully written, whether a book is 'good' or 'bad', only continues to erode the quality of the works being published. Take a look at the shelves, people. What do you see there? SHOULD it be there? Where's the good stuff? Which works actually contribute to the canon of SFF?

We may not all like lit theory, but it's a necessary component of what we're doing here.


…but that doesn't mean we aren't listening

Yeah, we all know that we've sunk to a low point over the past couple of weeks. We may be fascinated with our theories, but we also need to offer execution as well. We fucked it up real good, and we all know it. So here's the deal. Keep with us, and tell your friends as well. Because there's been enough discussion in the background, and enough background postings on the blog.

Now, we get to kick it up, start messing around, and start showing what we're really about.

There you go.

Now I'm giving to you, so it's time for you to give back. Show me some love, fuckers! Spread the s1ngularity::criticism word; there's some new kids in town, and they're ready to make some points.

Lock up your daughters. SFF just got a bit sexier…


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